A Reality Check

A Reality Check

It was Obama’s second visit to India in five years.

While Obama’s visit has put Indo-US relations on a revolutionary path, the relationship could potentially vitiate the regional geo-political situation US president Barack Obama’s visit kept India  iveted to television for three days.

It was Obama’s second visit to India in five years.

And since 2001 when Bill Clinton made his game-changing trip, there have been four US presidential visits  o India – including the one by George W Bush – all contributing to a deepening India-US relationship.

One of the salient achievements of the Obama’s visit was the agreement to clear the bottlenecks in the operationalization of the 2006 nuclear deal signed between Bush and the former prime minister Manmohan Singh.

The agreement will go a long way to help India’s expanding yet energy-hungry economy. However, the visit had much more to it than the nuclear deal. Beyond the symbolism and the photo-ops of the Modi-Obama hugs and the much talked about chemistry, the growing Indo-US closeness is taking the shape of a long term strategic partnership, much to the discomfort of the neighbours – China and Pakistan. Both Beijing and Islamabad were quick to issue cautionary notes and warnings. Chinese President Xi Jinping cautioned India not to “fall into the (US) trap”.

Similarly Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying cautioned India on entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group saying such a decision “should be made on consensus”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also opposed India’s bid for membership to the 48-member NSG and a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Aziz asserted that Pakistan remains opposed to policies of "selectivity and discrimination". While Obama’s visit has put Indo-US relations on a revolutionary path, opening up opportunities for economic growth and a beneficial strategic partnership, the relationship could potentially vitiate the regional geo-political situation – that is, if the two countries do not integrate their growing closeness into the larger regional geo-politics of the region.

The road to peace and economic growth will basically evolve from the efforts by India and its neighbours, including China and Pakistan, to build mutual confidence through cooperation and sustained engagement which seeks to resolve the issues that divide them.

And this is all the more important at a time when US is exiting Afghanistan and a new regional geo-political dynamic is shaping up, whose rules are still being written.